First direct seismic measurements of mars reveal a geologically active planet

The first reports of seismic activity and ground vibrations on Mars are in. The red planet has a moderate level of seismic activity, intermediate between Earth and the Moon. An international team that includes University of Maryland geologists released preliminary results from the InSight mission, which landed a probe on Mars on November 26, 2018. … Read more First direct seismic measurements of mars reveal a geologically active planet

LOFAR pioneers new way to study exoplanet environments

Using the Dutch-led Low Frequency Array (LOFAR)​ ​radio telescope, astronomers have discovered unusual radio waves coming from the nearby red dwarf star GJ1151. The radio waves bear the tell-tale signature of aurorae caused by an interaction between a star and its planet. The radio emission from a star-planet interaction has been predicted for over thirty-years … Read more LOFAR pioneers new way to study exoplanet environments

SwRI models hint at longer timescale for Mars formation

The early solar system was a chaotic place, with evidence indicating that Mars was likely struck by planetesimals, small protoplanets up to 1,200 miles in diameter, early in its history. Southwest Research Institute scientists modeled the mixing of materials associated with these impacts, revealing that the Red Planet may have formed over a longer timescale … Read more SwRI models hint at longer timescale for Mars formation

Astronomical spectroscopy with unmatched precision

In the hunt for Earth-like exoplanets – Earth analogues in distant solar systems – astronomers rely on highest precision spectrographs in order to detect the minute Doppler shift in the spectrum of their host stars. The shift is caused by the reflex motion of the star around the common center of mass in the planet-star-system … Read more Astronomical spectroscopy with unmatched precision

One small grain of moon dust, one giant leap for lunar studies

Back in 1972, NASA sent their last team of astronauts to the Moon in the Apollo 17 mission. These astronauts brought some of the Moon back to Earth so scientists could continue to study lunar soil in their labs. Since we haven’t returned to the Moon in almost 50 years, every lunar sample is precious. … Read more One small grain of moon dust, one giant leap for lunar studies

Citizen science discovers a new form of the northern lights

Working together with space researchers, Finnish amateur photographers have discovered a new auroral form. Named ‘dunes’ by the hobbyists, the phenomenon is believed to be caused by waves of oxygen atoms glowing due to a stream of particles released from the Sun. In the recently published study, the origins of the dunes were tracked to … Read more Citizen science discovers a new form of the northern lights

Extreme-energy accelerators in extragalactic outer space

Several billion light years from our Galaxy, blazars are relentlessly accelerating particles to extreme energies. What do we know about these extreme sources of radiation? A team of ten researchers from France (Paris Observatory, IN2P3), Germany (ESO, DESY, University of Munich) and Italy (ASI, INAF) coordinated by Jonathan Biteau (IJC Lab, University Paris-Saclay, CNRS) and … Read more Extreme-energy accelerators in extragalactic outer space

Astronomers spot ‘vampire’ star sucking life from victim

Astronomers have found a ‘vampire’ star in the midst of a feeding frenzy, with the help of an automated program that is sifting through archived data from the decommissioned Kepler Space Telescope. The research is published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The new program acts like a detective to find clues of … Read more Astronomers spot ‘vampire’ star sucking life from victim

Pristine circumstellar material in the young supernova remnant Cassiopeia A

Supernovae and their young remnants often interact with the circumstellar material ejected at the end of the progenitor stars’ lifetime. By studying the physical and chemical characteristics of this material, we can learn how massive stars stripped off their envelopes and exploded, which is crucial for understanding the connection between the diverse types of supernovae … Read more Pristine circumstellar material in the young supernova remnant Cassiopeia A

Chinese astronomers measure geometric distance to the quasar 3C 273

Since the discovery of quasars more than a half a century ago, measuring their distances has always been a fundamental problem for cosmology. Recently, a team led by Professor Jian-Min Wang from the Institute of High Energy Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) developed a new geometric method and successfully measured the cosmological … Read more Chinese astronomers measure geometric distance to the quasar 3C 273